Counselling Associations

All Professional Bodies, National Associations (e.g. Mental Health, School, Guidance, Addiction, Faith-based etc.) and Accrediting Organisations.

There was not any information on counselling associations in Iraq located.

Universities and Other Education and Training Institutes

There is no current information regarding counselling programs in Iraq that could be located.

Counselling Agencies, Services, Group Practices, Counselling Centres

Background & Context

Psychology was being introduced in Iraq by an Egyptian psychologist A.E. Rageh in the early 1940s when he began teaching psychology at the Higher Institute Education and later at Baghdad University, where he also helped establish academic psychological study (Ahmed, n.d.). Additionally, Ahmed (n.d.) states that “psychology in Iraq did not appear as an academic and distinct discipline until the early 1970’s when an increasing need for specialization in psychology became apparent” (p. 133). Since then, psychology departments began to open at several universities in Iraq. Counselling services are likely to be performed by psychologists in Iraq. However, articles and studies available online regarding the availability of counsellors are mostly outdated.

Current Regulatory Status / Level of Recognition:

There is no counselling association available in Iraq that could be located. It is also unknown whether counsellors are being recognized at all in Iraq as there is no information available online on the availability of counsellors in the country. There are no known mental health facilities or services provided by the Iraqi government. However, there are two non-profit organizations called Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and SOS Children’s Village who have a mission to make counselling available in the country. No budget is also allocated by the government for mental health in the country.

Practice Settings

The counselling profession is hardly established in Iraq. Most counselling services available in the country are provided by international non-profit organizations. The counsellors or mental health practitioners usually come from other countries to provide services in Iraq.  Starting in 2010, a non-profit organization from Paris called Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) held a project in the country, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, where they tried to introduce counselling. They provided counselling services and trainings in three hospitals located in Baghdad and Fallujah. Another international non-profit organization launched in September 2016 called SOS Children’s Villages also provided mental health support for children and adults in Iraq. This programme is aimed to help children and adults recognize, cope, and overcome trauma. They use personal counselling as well as a technique called Teaching Recovery Techniques (TRT) to show people how to cope and heal from their traumatic experiences.

Challenges & Trends

Due to the lack of recognition of counselling services in Iraq, it is challenging to assess and deliver the trends of counselling in the country. The biggest challenge for counselling in Iraq is that the mental health infrastructure in general is weak. The counselling profession in Iraq is hardly existing, though thousands of Iraqi people are in need of mental health and psychosocial support due to the stresses caused by the destruction of wars. The Iraqi people in general have limited access to mental health services due to the lack of mental health professionals available in the country.

Additional Information & References

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